Duke Energy to use swine waste at Buck, Dan River power plants

Caption: Dan River combined-cycle power plant


Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) is asking North Carolina regulators to register its Buck and Dan River combined-cycle power plants as renewable energy facilities, as the utility plans to start utilizing biogas from swine waste.

North Carolina requires utilities to produce at least 0.07 percent of their power from a biomass source. The mandate will go up to 0.14 percent in 2017, and to 0.2 percent by 2020.

“It will be less than one percent of what we burn at the two plants,” said Duke Energy spokesman Randy Wheeless.

The state's utilities have struggled to meet the regulation due to the availability of waste from in-state farms, he said. He also noted that the hog farms in North Carolina lack the technology to mass produce waste for power companies.

Duke Energy filed with the state’s utilities commission to use hog waste from the High Plains Bioenergy in Guymon, Oklahoma; and the Roeslein Alternative Energy in Princeton, Missouri. The hog farms were chosen because of its large agricultural operations that are more equipped to process large amounts manure, waste and other related material, the Charlotte Business Journal reported. 

About 1 percent of total fuel will be consumed by the two plants, he said.

“The agreement is cost-effective and we hope that it will spur development in North Carolina,” Wheeless said in an interview with Power Engineering. “The agreement means we are half-way to the 2020 goal."

The commission recognized biogas as a fuel for renewable energy credits in a 2012 ruling. 

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